Well Done, Sri Lanka -UNHRC vote – A moral victory for Sri Lanka
Posted on October 6th, 2022

Senaka Weeraratna

The number of abstentions (20) and the number of ‘No’ votes (7) add up to 27 whereas the ‘Yes’  votes totaled 20. 

In the previous year, the same type of Resolution had 22 countries voting in favour. This time the ‘YES’ vote had come down to 20. Last year 25 countries did not support the Resolution. This year 27 countries have decided not to support the Resolution. A gain of two not in support of the Resolution.

The adoption of the Resolution by a majority of 13 votes disregarding the Abstentions does not tell the real story.

In the bellicose environment of the UNHRC which is a modern version of an inquisitorial institution with a lynch mob mentality, it is next to impossible to defeat a joint USA and UK sponsored Resolution against a poor weak former colony asserting its national sovereignty. However, the fact that most Asian and African countries deliberately and consciously abstained or refused to budge despite high-handed intimidation by powerful western countries and vote against Sri Lanka is significant and worthy of note. They were not prepared to be a party to browbeat a fellow Third World nation.  

Except for one Asian country i.e., South Korea, totally dependent on the USA for its defense and survival, the rest of Asia stood with Sri Lanka in not voting against Sri Lanka including India, Japan, Indonesia, and Malaysia. 

In 2012 and 2014 India voted against Sri Lanka due to domestic compulsions. But not this time.

Seven countries comprising China, Pakistan, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Uzbekistan, and Eritrea voted against the Resolution.

Sri Lanka is grateful to all the countries that did not vote in favour of a Resolution meant to name and shame Sri Lanka before a world audience.

Asia and Africa have a shared past of being subject to western colonialism for several centuries. The solidarity that grew through a common cause in joint resistance to western domination and colonial rule was evident in the pattern of voting at the UNHRC. The battle lines were drawn on the lines dividing the East and the West.   

In terms of the population of the world, the countries that did not vote for the Resolution including the ones that abstained have more people in their lands than the ‘ Yes’ countries. 

Sri Lanka’s belligerent conduct

Sri Lanka’s belligerent posture must be admired. If you are to go down, then go down fighting. A warrior mindset has a luster that is unseen in cowardice or capitulation at the drop of a hat. Cuba is a shining example of a small country prepared to stand alone without giving in to bullying countries. Never cave in and never give up.

Never bow down to aggressive countries. It is they who are accountable when you look carefully at their track records for violating the Human Rights of the colonized non–white races for centuries. The cynicism with which the Human Rights discourse is increasingly viewed today all over the world says it all. The countries which have committed genocide of native populations, plundered the wealth of Asian and African countries in a mad scramble to grab the land of others, and then transplanted settlers while at the same time dispossessing the natives of their homelands lack the moral authority to lecture on Human Rights and/or take others to task for Human Rights violations.

Some Countries are peddling Human Rights as a Red Herring to divert world attention from their own accountability to Universal Justice or Providence. The countries that truly matter to Sri Lanka have not really deserted Sri Lanka.  

Absenting at the UNHRC essentially means saying ‘No’ to a Resolution in the context of the crude backbiting horse-trading atmosphere that prevails at the UNHRC

That is the proper and correct interpretation, morally speaking.

Well done, Sri Lanka for standing up in accordance with the principles underlying our Constitution.

Senaka Weeraratna

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